Monday, June 13, 2011

On Negativity, Destruction, and Rebuilding

Do you want more blog readers? Here's one simple secret, one I've held close to my vest for a long time: rant.

The nastier you are, the more venomous opinion you espouse, the better your numbers will be. I hate to admit it, but after nearly five years of blogging about writing (and life), my most-read posts are those in which I threw a mini-hissy fit. Evidently, negative vibes attract blog readers.

And it's soooooo easy to be negative. The first thoughts in many tough circumstances are often negative. Ever heard the advice to wait a day before mailing a letter written in anger? Great advice.

Here's what I've learned about life from my home improvement project: destruction takes far less time than rebuilding. I demolished 2 1/2 bathrooms in 3 days. We are in week two of the rebuild, and just passing the midway point on 1 1/2 of those bathrooms. Sloooow going.

Here's the other thing I've learned: destruction is much harder on my body than rebuilding. I haven't sprained anything/shed large amounts of blood since the end of the demolition.

Is there a parallel to blogging? You bet. Negative vibes, attacks, and rants will garner attention quickly, but they come with a price. Sometimes, a writer just has to rant. I do from time to time and I try to be honest. But, if it's all I did, it wouldn't be right. Nobody wants to linger in negative land for too long--unless we're all drinking the same Kool-Aid.

Have a great week.


Unknown said...

If I snarked up my reviews, I'd probably get more visitors. If I pissed and moaned about rejections, I'd probably get more visitors. If I got into online fueds with other bloggers and writers, I'd probably get more visitors.

As it stands, I like my blog the way it is. I try to relegate my negativity to my Tumblr blog--no one reads that hardly. :)

Tony said...

You're right, Aaron. People love controversy. Good entertainment. :-)

And you're *really* right about the demolition vs. rebuilding. My bathroom still isn't rebuilt.

Good luck with the work.

Sage Ravenwood said...

I'm of the mind, quality versus quanity. I've discovered fluff garners more comments (which I seriously hate). If I were to blog about nonsense, commenters come out of the woodwork. The more serious (even heartfelt) post garner far less.

I'm comfortable in my own skin. I don't need a huge following to validate that. The fact I have over 400 baffles the hell out of me. I rarely blog - *shrugs*. What I do, is stay consistantly me. I write whatever is coming through at the moment.

Take for example the post I'm waiting to do next week. Not exactly prime comment material, but it's the mindset I find myself in.

Stay you Aaron and I'll stay me. I like us just fine. (Hugs) Indy

Sage Ravenwood said...

Ha! Looks like it's my turn to stalk Tony. He stalked me the other day commenting on blogs after me. Yeah, it's stalk Tony day! (Hugs) Indy

Tony said...

Ah! *runs and hides*

Daniel Powell said...

Agreed. It's important to call it like you see it, but being negative is such a soul suck. Optimism, baby!

It's simple to say, but being optimistic sure makes life much cooler!

Katey said...

There's a time and a place for ranting, and it's different for everyone, I imagine. So long as you're presenting the face you want to present (some might say your true face, but, uh, I doubt many of us want to be so open)--and yours seems genuine--I think people appreciate it.

Too true that snarky nonsense gets more attention, though. Ah well, those candles burn out fast, as you say.

Aaron Polson said...

Gef - I love your reviews the way they are: honest.

Tony - Your bathroom *still* isn't done? I just hyperventilated a little. Please tell me I will finish. Someday. *eek*

Indigo - The blogosphere is rife with mystery. ;)

Daniel - Being optimistic helps me, any day of the week.

Katey - I couldn't keep up the snark if I wanted to. And I don't want to. (See how I ended two sentences with "to"? I'm so fired.)

Author Scott Nicholson said...

Aaron, you suck! What a pile of dreck! (Can I be famous yet?)

Good rant.


R. Doug Wicker said...

Negativity . . . who needs it? I may get negative once in a while, but I prefer to do mostly positive blogs because that's more who I am.

If you want negativity, go watch Fox News, I always say.

Fox Lee said...

Agreed. I would have many more followers, if I wasn't so nice. Though the pictures of half naked men probably don't help ; )

Anthony Rapino said...

Well, yeah. *You'll* finish probably this week. Me? I'll give it another year.

jan said...

Negative ranting?--Not so much (unless you can overcome the image of a whiner)
Humorous ranting--always!

Anonymous said...

This week I tried my hand at it for the first time in 1.5 years of blogging, and it's been enlightening to see how many writers out there can relate to my pathetic peeves. Always good to know we're not alone.

Cate Gardner said...

'tis a sad fact.

Simon Kewin said...

That's the most ridiculous pile of nonsense I've ever read in my life, Aaron. What the hell were you thinking?

Just kidding. Yeah, you're right I guess. Seems to me honesty is the thing, whether that gives rise to something positive or something negative.

K.C. Shaw said...

I like reading the occasional rant too, especially if it's something I agree with and can get righteously angry on someone else's behalf (or my own). But a steady diet of that isn't very satisfying. I've come across blogs that are just vitriol all the time, and after the fun wears off the negativity gets to me and I stop reading.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Sad but true! I guess it's the human rubber-necking attitude thats responsible for it. People just love to read/hear/see someone else being Mr Angry! But as you said you can't always attract traffic like that or people could tired of it??

Toyin O. said...

I guess gaining high readers, but losing one'ss integrity is always okay in this day and age:)

Unknown said...

So true. And if I could deal with the negativity that inevitably brings your way, I would probably be more negative and get more readers. But I've found over the years that the satisfaction gained from snapping at someone is outweighed by the anxiety it brings.